[EDITORIALS]Parties should recall the past

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[EDITORIALS]Parties should recall the past

A 13-day long campaign for the April 30 by-elections started yesterday. Almost all leaders of political parties have already been mobilized to campaign, and we are concerned that the stumping may get out of hand.
The special elections this time will choose six lawmakers, seven foundational local government heads, 10 wide-area local government heads and 21 council members at the foundational local governments.
These are the first national elections since the 17th legislative elections of April 2004.
The elections are considered vital for the future of Korean politics in that they will determine whether the governing Uri Party, which recently lost its majority status at the National Assembly, can get back on top. They are also important because their results can be used to predict the outcome of local elections of May 2006.
It is no wonder that each party is making every possible effort to win on April 30. But some parties are acting as if they must win at all costs. Some ugly scenes have already been observed, as candidates try to get on their parties’ tickets for the elections.
Some actions are just ridiculous. For example, a party chose a man belonging to a rival party as its candidate in a district, and then later withdrew the candidacy.
Even if we blame the candidate for the mistake, it won’t make us any less disappointed. We believe such an occasion took place because political parties were too occupied with the thought that they should win by any means necessary.
The parties should be aware that the current special elections are taking place to fill the positions left vacant after the court disqualified some lawmakers and governors for illegal campaign tactics during the last elections. They should bear in mind that they will be disqualified again if they act illegally during their campaigns.
It goes without saying that each political party in the elections should demonstrate sincerity and integrity. What the parties should do first is to examine themselves to find out why their lawmakers had to leave their positions.
The parties should know that they are running in this election to be judged by voters. But we do not see such efforts from any party. If the parties do not make efforts to show integrity, then they may have to go through yet another by-elections in the future.
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